The Centipede

Student Opinions on CA’s New Phone Policy

Stefano Amador ‘19

This year, Concord Academy students came back from their summer break to new phone accessories in the classroom, raising lots of questions and some confusion.

     Labeled as “preschool” by students, small wooden cases and cell phone storage pockets have quickly filled every classroom, yet only a few CA teachers have asked their students to utilize them. So are these constraints really necessary? Or is technology having a harmful impact on young students? Student Head of School, Ananya Pani ‘19 stated, “Generally, students are very responsible when it comes to their phones, but I also believe that the use of technology overall has been rising. Maybe the school should take action, but I don’t find this policy effective.”

      Pani explained that having students engaged more often in the classroom with hands-on activities will provide them with an educational experience would be a more effective way to unplug students. Meanwhile, students believe that with this approach,  teachers are acting more as babysitters and not educators.

     Students like Tyler Ory ‘21 acknowledged, “I believe there is a slight problem with students using their phones in class, but I think it’s a problem for a small percentage of CA students.”

     Other students have also commented on how teachers are “making mountains out of molehills.” Kezia Almonte ‘20 described, “In class, everyone doesn’t even think about using their phones because we’re busy taking notes, and when we do need them it’s to look something up. I feel like technology actually enables us to understand the material even better.”

      Keegan Tan ‘20 mentioned his history teacher who, “leads by example by putting his phone away, but the rest of us don’t really follow, not because we need them, but we just don’t find it necessary. His class is so interesting and engaging that we don’t have a reason to take them out.”

     Meanwhile, some CA adults say the goal is to give CA teachers more options to create learning spaces without distractions. History teacher Rebecca D’Angelo stated, “the intention is to give teachers options that are supported by the school at large. It’s not any type of punishment.”

      CA teachers simply care about our education and want to foster a classroom environment where students can be fully engaged in. It doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t believe in healthy distractions. Some CA teachers have even used time during their class block to provide students with time to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, or even use their phones.

     When asked about the intersection of common trust and this policy, D’Angelo responded by saying, “Having thirteen more years of life experiences compared with the freshmen and nine for the seniors, there are certain things that I want to offer my perspective on to the students because as educators we care.” She wishes that CA students trust the adults because they have CA students’ best interests at heart.

     Later, D’Angelo emphasized, “I think that conversation has to be a big piece in this. In fact, there’s so many things I’d like to talk to students about because I have this perspective about you as a student and the life of kids your age, but I’m afraid that if I tell them that, if I share my opinion or expertise, they’ll perceive it as me not understanding.”

     CA’s new phone policy highlights a larger issue in the community regarding the struggle between the faculty and students to communicate–a conversation that started earlier this year and shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

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